June 30, 2004

my treat

Monday, June 21
I had long noticed that I had not been cooking anything for the past few weeks and kept eating other people's food, which I didn't feel very right. Of course I was not told to cook something for them in return, but I did think I should and he said that everyone would be happy to sample some of my dishes. And today happened to be a good day as we did not have any plan to go out for dinner.
It's always a bit hard to decide what to make for someone you have never cooked something for and you don't know what they like or, more critically, what they don't. But in this case, he decided today's menu - "orange chicken". He wanted his families to try my orange chicken that he likes so much, and people usually like Chinese orange-flavored chicken over here. So I gave it a go.
We began with shopping, and faced a fundamental question: how many people would be there for dinner? We knew there would be his family, but currently their relatives were staying at their place, and other cousins might just drop by - our best guess fell in the region of 6-8 people. The next question: how much chicken we would need to feed 6-8 people? What about vegetable?? I'm not used to cooking for more than four people, so it was a kind of hard process. So was preparing process - just a lot of vegetable to cut up, although the cooking itself was very simple (it was all left to the oven, basically).
After a while of struggling with a lot of foodstuff, we got to serve the chicken, roasted vegetable, and my signature kabocha pumpkin salad, along with home-made sangria, followed by cheesecake as a dessert. There ended up with being 8 people, and to my great relief, everyone seemed happy and gave me a lot of compliment.
A bit note about cheesecake: I baked mixed-berry white chocolate cheesecake the previous night, and cooled it overnight in the fridge. I made a few changes to the original recipe of Irish Cream Cheesecake from my cookbook in Japanese, which I am sure I will mention sometime in the future; graham biscuit and pecan nut crust at the bottom, sprinkled with fresh raspberries and blackberries, filled with white chocolate cheese cake batter, topped with four-berry spread & liquor mixture that gave a marbled effect, and served with fresh berries including blackberries, raspberries as well as "golden raspberries". I knew the white chocolate cheesecake filling was delicious, but the combination with the "classic" raspberries (and other berries) was just so perfect - we all loved it.

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